India reimposes lockdowns as virus cases near a million
NEW DELHI: India’s caseload is approaching 1 million with a surge of 29,429 new confirmed infections during the past 24 hours, prompting authorities to reimpose lockdowns in high-risk areas in nearly a dozen states.
The new confirmed cases took the national total to 936,181. The Health Ministry also reported another 582 deaths for a total to 24,309.
A two-week lockdown was imposed in eastern Bihar state, where nearly 2.5 million migrant workers have returned home after losing jobs in other parts of the country and further spread the virus.
Australia’s death toll rises to 111
Australia’s most populous states will impose harsher restrictions on movement if a Covid-19 outbreak is not quickly bought under control, state premiers said.
Victoria state reported another 238 cases in the past 24 hours, even after reimposing a lockdown last week on about five million people in Melbourne, Australia’s second-biggest city.
Nationally, Australia has now recorded about 10,500 cases, while the death toll rose to 111 on Wednesday after a woman in her 90s died from the virus.
Tokyo on top alert level after new cases
Tokyo is on its highest coronavirus alert level after a spike in new cases, the city’s governor warned, as experts said the rising infections were a clear “red flag”.
Daily coronavirus cases exceeded 200 in four of the last six days, touching an all-time high of 243 cases last Friday as testing among workers in the metropolis’s red-light districts turned up infections among young people in their 20s and 30s.
As of Wednesday, there were only seven people requiring intensive care for coronavirus and authorities have insisted that the medical system is in better shape than at the height of the previous wave in April.
And despite the latest outbreak, the situation in Japan remains considerably less serious than in many other comparable countries in terms of population.
Japan has had just over 22,500 cases and close to 1,000 deaths since the disease was first detected in the country. No one has died of coronavirus in Tokyo for three weeks.
Germany’s cases rise by 351 to 199,726
The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 351 to 199,726, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed.
The reported death toll rose by three to 9,071, the tally showed.
Moderna vaccine enters final stage trial this month
An experimental Covid-19 vaccine that is being developed by US biotech firm Moderna induced antibody responses against the coronavirus in all 45 participants of a human trial, according to a new paper.
Moderna had previously published “interim results” from its Phase 1 in the form of a press release on its website in May, which revealed the vaccine had generated immune responses in eight patients.
Though these were called “encouraging” by Anthony Fauci, the top US infectious diseases official, the full study had been eagerly awaited by the scientific community.
The company has since moved to the next stage of its trial, involving 600 people.
The new paper was published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Moderna said the phase 3 trial on July 27 will recruit 30,000 participants in the US, with half to receive the vaccine at 100 microgram dose levels, and the other half to receive a placebo.
Thousands in Bolivia anti-government protest
Thousands of demonstrators have defied quarantine restrictions and marched on the Bolivian capital La Paz to protest against the government of interim President Jeanine Anez.
“The people are expressing their needs, they are expressing their voice in protest,” said Juan Carlos Huarachi, leader of the country’s biggest trade union, Central Obrera Boliviana, on Tuesday.
The demonstration, held over worker grievances about health and education policies and massive layoffs, was the biggest since the coronavirus pandemic reached the South American country in March.
“There are many layoffs,” said Huarachi, “because of the fall in the economy.”
South Korea unemployment rate inches down
South Korea’s unemployment rate fell marginally in June but remained high in historical terms as the coronavirus pandemic continued to weigh on businesses and labour markets.
The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate slid to 4.3 percent in June, notches below a decade-high of 4.5 percent in May when it surged to the highest since January 2010, data from Statistics Korea showed on Wednesday.
Data also showed the number of employed was around 27.1 million in June, 352,000 fewer than a year earlier. This marked the fourth month of year-on-year decline, the longest losing streak in more than 10 years.